Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - Submitted by Georgia Briggs
At the end of the 2015 season, the CBR Brave announced that they would be unveiling a new charitable foundation called The Brave Foundation to provide assistance to people who are struggling with mental health issues, particularly PTSD and depression in young men.
The Brave Foundation was born out of extremely sad circumstances in 2015, after Canberra hockey legend Mark Rummukainen’s brother-in-law, Robbie, sadly took his own life. Robbie was known to all the players and management at the Brave, and the loss touched them all.
“It’s amazing how prevalent it is,” Rummukainen said. “I don’t think you can really come across anyone who doesn’t know someone that has gone through depression or is going through it themselves.”
The Foundation aims to raise money which will be given to established charities that deal with depression or PTSD in young men.
“We chose this type of cause because the team is basically the demographic which is effected by suicide in young men, so it sort of fit with us,” Rummukainen explained.
The aim of the Foundation is to raise money, but Mark notes it is a greater goal to raise awareness.
“There’s always this stigma about it,” Rummukainen said. “It’s swept under the rug and people don’t want to talk about it but if we can do anything to make people more aware of the issue then that’s fantastic.”
As for the money, Mark suggests they lean towards tangible achievements through the donations, rather than “throwing the money at a random charity and not knowing where it ends up.”
“We had discussed putting people through a program called ‘Accidental Councillor’,” he said. “If we can put $2000 aside to put four people through that course or if we can fund one more phone to be manned at Lifeline, that would be the type of thing we’d like to do with the donations.”
As the Brave Foundation is still in its infancy, at the moment there are only a few ways that people can support its work.
“The biggest thing people can do is if we have anything happening, and people are willing to volunteer their time, that would be huge, even coming to us with suggestions for ideas or events,” Rummukainen suggested.
“If you’re giving that 50c, that 20c, if you’re putting that tiny amount that means nothing in the bucket at the game we’re making a good amount of money. People don’t think it’s much - $1 here, $2 there - but it trickles in. We’ve got a couple thousand dollars already and we’ve only played a couple of home games.”
You can also donate a few extra dollars during a ticket purchase or get in contact with the Club for larger donations.
As for Mark, his personal level of involvement has lead him to forgo his captain’s role this year to be a more prominent spokesperson for the Foundation.
“If we’re doing anything away from hockey I’ll be the first person to volunteer my time for it and get the other guys involved. It’s an easy match,” Rummukainen said.
“[Men aren’t] sure how to talk about it and they’re worried about how they’re going to be perceived. How is it going to be welcomed, are people just going to think ‘stop whinging’? I think that’s one of the major things for me. Yes, you see someone whinging, but you need to look deeper than that. You can tell the difference between just whinging about rubbish and having legitimate worries. People need to be more open and responsive to it.”
“In sport there’s a lot of s**t talk that happens, but now we’re more aware of raising it if we think it’s actually an issue for someone and asking are you okay. So it’s already working.”
Raising awareness of mental health in young men is extremely important, 80% of the people who commit suicide each year are men.
If you or someone you know is having difficulties, please talk to a person you trust or you can contact Lifeline 24/7 on 13 11 14.